Speaking more than one language can boost economic growth

Multilingualism is good for the economy, researchers have found. Countries that actively nurture different languages reap a range of rewards, from more successful exports to a more innovative workforce.

“Language matters on a large-scale national level and at the level of smaller businesses,” says Gabrielle Hogan-Brun, a research fellow in Language Studies at the University of Bristol, citing data that links economic growth to linguistic diversity.

Switzerland, for example, attributes 10% of its GDP to its multilingual heritage. The country has four national languages: German, French, Italian and an ancient Latin-based language called Romansh.

Britain, on the other hand, is estimated to lose out on the equivalent of 3.5% of its GDP every year, because of its population’s relatively poor language skills.

This may be partly because languages can help build trade relations. A study of small and medium-size companies in Sweden, Germany, Denmark and France found that those which invested more in languages were able to export more goods. German companies that invested heavily in multilingual staff added 10 export countries to their market. Companies that invested less said they missed out on contracts.

Researchers have also long highlighted the individual benefits of speaking more than one language. For those who find languages difficult, the good news is that you do not have to be fluent to feel a positive impact.

Several studies show that languages boost earning power. In Florida, workers who speak both Spanish and English earn $7,000 per year more than those who only speak English. According to a Canadian study, bilingual men earn 3.6% and bilingual women earn 6.6% more than their English-only peers. The twist: this was true even if they didn’t use their second language for work.

“It seems you don’t have to actually speak a second language on the job to reap the financial rewards of being bilingual,” says economics professor Louis Christofides, one of the authors of the study. The authors speculated that this was because knowing a second language was seen a sign of cognitive power, perseverance and a good education.

Beyond these immediate economic rewards, languages can help a country’s workforce in more subtle, long-term ways. Multilingualism has for example been shown to be good for brain health, delaying the onset of dementia. It has also been associated with a better ability to concentrate and process information. The effects are strongest in people who were multilingual from a young age, but acquiring languages later still made a difference.

“Even a one-week intensive language course improved attention and this effect remained stable nine months later in those who practised five hours a week or more,” say Thomas Bak, reader in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and Dina Mehmedbegovic, lecturer in Education at UCL, in a paper on the value of linguistic diversity.

So how can countries boost their linguistic capital? Bak and Mehmedbegovic use the term “healthy linguistic diet” to describe a positive approach to languages across a lifespan.

“As well as using every opportunity to say: ‘It’s good for you to eat fruit and vegetables every day’, schools should also say: ‘It’s good for you to speak, read and write in different languages’,” they suggest.

This is especially important since many countries already possess a vast, untapped linguistic resource in the form of migrant families. But while many monolingual parents push their children to take language classes, migrant parents may feel discouraged from passing on their own language for fear of discrimination, or because they think multilingualism is harmful. The result? “The size and richness of language at home is compromised,” says Viorica Marian, Professor of Communication Sciences at Northwestern University.

Given that linguistic diversity has such a powerful economic impact, it’s alarming that many languages face a serious risk of extinction. The most vulnerable are languages spoken by small communities in mountainous areas. The main drivers for their decline, according to the researchers’ data, are globalization and high economic growth.

Source: www.weforum.org

Translation of SPCs (Summaries of Product Characteristics)

As there is more and more demand from our partners in the chemical industry to help them with the translation of SPCs in the European Commission`s SPC Editor, we thought it would be useful to share our experience with our partners and provide them some guidelines in order to maximize the efficiency of these kinds of translations.

What is the preferred file format?

In case our partner would like to translate an SPC prepared in the SPC Editor, it can be exported from the platform in an .xml file. We can perfectly use this file format for the translation. What is more, the translatable part does not include the headings, so these do not need to be taken out manually.
The translated versions will be also in .xml format, so our partners only need to upload them in the SPC Editor.

File formats that are not so user friendly:

There are some file formats that might be better to avoid if the .xml format is available. These are pdf, word or excel. Although we can perfectly use these for translation, based on our experience, our partners need to spend quite a substantial time with creating these documents, and highlighting the non-translatable parts. As such, we also need to spend time to exclude the non-translatable parts (headings) when we prepare the file for translation.

Discounts on translating SPCs:

We are building translation memories for our partners, so in case they have several SPCs to be translated into the same languages, we can give discounts.


We are able to translate SPCs in all requested languages, including Norwegian and Icelandic. Our translators are always native speakers of the target language, and they have chemical background. Usually we work with the same translators to translate the SPCs, so they have a great experience in this field.

Our expertise:

Our quality team is fully aware of how the SPC Editor works, so before delivering a translation, they check whether the translated file is in order.
In the past 3 years, we have translated more than 5 million words for the chemical industry – documents such as MSDSs, ESs, SPCs, labels, studies, sworn translations and others.

We are proud to have partners such CEFIC, Rio Tinto, Arkema, Everris, Glencore, Wintershall, Colorobbia, HELM, ESIG, UEIL, Tokyo Chemical Industry (TCI), JCDB (Japan Chemical Database Ltd.), Nissan Chemicals and many more…